(This is reposted from the original tourney thread over on Heroscapers.com. This was a combined Heroscape/Summoner Wars Tournament, where your faction in HS and SW had to share the same race. Colby and I thought it would be fun(ny) to crash it, even though it was fairly small).
Thanks again to Frank and the store for hosting this! I had a lot of fun, and I felt that it was mostly worth the ludicrous amount of driving I did.
Seems like I ought to let people know what happened here.
I spent a long time waffling on my decision of what faction to play.
My default option, and first gut impulse was to just play Orcs (4x Heavies, Grimnak, Nerak) and a solid TO deck of some kind.
I thought about playing Dwarves, because I like the Guild Dwarves a lot, and feel that they really give you a chance to win every match, but I had also already won a tourney with them at GenCon, and felt that the Axegrinders, although solid, would be less likely to win many games against what I expected to face- Knights and Heavy Gruts, or... *shudder* Warriors of Ashra.
I thought about playing Ashra and Phoenix Elves, but decided that I wouldn't have fun in my wins or losses in either game, and would feel cheap. So I didn't do it. Ashra+ Aubrien Archers seemed like a neat idea to counter other Ashras if they showed up, but then I felt that sort of army would lose to the Grimnak combo I wanted to play anyway.
I thought about playing 4x Romans, Marcus, NGS, MBS, and Isamu, but felt it'd have the same problems v. Ashra that others would, without the benefit of being able to reach out and Chomp someone.
So I went with Orcs anyway...
[TO deck was Grognack, Ragnor, Blagog, Krung, 2x Fighter, 5x Thwarter, 6x Shaman, 5x Smasher]
GAME 1 (HEROSCAPE)
v. happyjosiah (6x Warriors of Ashra, Airborne Elite, Otonashi or Isamu- chose Oto, and Marcu Esenwein)
On Jack of Spades by Gamebear
Yikes. This was the match-up I dreaded the most going into the tourney, made even tougher by the inclusion of the Airborne Elite. I'd need to play smart and have really good luck to win.
So that's what I did.
His Airborne Elite never dropped the entire game, at least 5-6 rounds long.
I won the first round's initiative, finding both the Common Attack Glyph and the Wound glyph. Knowing that Josiah would really want the Crevcor glyph to boost his Ashra, I started swarming up on that side very quickly, with Nerak in 4 clear sight of it, sitting on the nearer of the 7-hex plateaus. But I also held onto the Wound glyph for awhile too.
Between Grimnak, Wound, and Josiah whiffing his first 4 or 5 defense rolls, I was running really good early, and managed to get to a sizable lead. Grimnak and Nerak both took some wounds but neither ever fell, as I tried to do my best to minimize the number of engagements that they got into with some sacrificial gruts.
I put some figures on the hills to help ward against the AE drop, but if they did it still could have been a very different game. I finished with 1 life left on Grimnak and Nerak, and around 7 Heavy Gruts.
I probably couldn't have a much closer game than that, right?
GAME 2 (SUMMONER WARS)
v. gamjuven (Guild Dwarves- 3 engineers subbed out to Guardsmen, Thorkur out for Grungor)
Last time that I played Brad in Summoner Wars, it wasn't very close, so I wasn't really sure what to expect here. He has gotten much better, and I may have lost if my luck hadn't turned around in a big way towards the end of the game.
Early game saw us both building magic and playing a reinforcements. I dropped each of my freezes on Oldin, meaning that he'd need 6 magic to break him free. However, he ignored that and pressed onward. I got Ragnor out, and felt pretty good. Then he summoned Gror, who was able to hit Ragnor, a Shaman, and a Thwarter at once, but went 0/2.
Then I got Blagog out, who I think is actually quite good. I go at length to explain this on a regular basis to another tester who thinks that dice hate him. I surround Gror with that Shaman, Blagog, and keep Ragnor where he is. I move the Thwarter up adjacent to the wall that Gror is directly in front of. The Shaman hits. Ragnor hits 1/2, furies, and does 1 more damage. Blagog attacks... and misses completely, including 3 3's! Undeterred, I still feel so good about my position that I build the two smashers, 1 shaman, and Reinforcements in my hand as magic, figuring that I won't be able to play them.
Then he summoned Gror, and played a Heroic Feat on him, getting 4/4 hits, killing Ragnor, my Shaman, getting 4 wounds on Blagog, and even killing my Thwarter.
From there, he kept applying more pressure with Spearmen, and later Baldar to try to kill Grognack. Grognack got beat up, eventually getting to just two life left. He also reinforced and summoned a Guardsman here and there. I used Walls of Ice Shard and Thwarters to slow down Baldar and hurt him, and then Brad had exactly 6 magic and one card in hand.
I was expecting Thorkur, or for him to unfreeze Oldin.
He did neither, summoning Grungor.
After getting one wound on him from WoIS, I had to take a swing with Grognack on the once-wounded Grungor, while a Thwarter was on the other side, and another (or was it a shaman?) was slowing down Baldar. I went 4/4 with Grognack and took out Grungor, then my Thwarter finished off his Guardsmen, and we continued to hurt Baldar. Baldar eventually died to my Thwarter.
Somewhere in all this, I also got hit with MD right when I had 6 or so magic, and Krung in hand. He wasn't coming out. But once I got rid of Baldar, or just got him behind me, I sent Grognack and the frozen Oldin and took him out in two or three swings. It was a pretty crazy game.
GAME 3 (HEROSCAPE)
v. southwest ninja (4x Heavy Gruts, Grimnak, Nerak [mirror match!])
On Elien's Magma Cave by killercactus
It might just be that mirror matches in general are kind of lame in Heroscape, but this map seemed to exacerbate that fact. There's tons of lava on it. But a glyph on highish/medium ground in the center that makes your whole army immune to Lava. So both of us thought to to do the same thing- get Grimnak up there and chomp anyone who comes close. Only I won initiative though, and I held the glyph for the rest of the match until I jumped off and put the killing blows on his last few figures.
It didn't help that his rolls were pretty terrible. I don't know how many 3 on 4's he put on Nerak (probably at least 8 or 9), and I'm not sure if he ever managed to kill him. Maybe 8 of my heavy Gruts. It wasn't pretty.
GAME 4 (SUMMONER WARS)
v. truth (Vanguards with Spear Grounder x5, Archers x5, Guardian Knights x5, Priests x3, and Sairook in for Raechel [pronounced "Ray-SHEL" by Colby])
When people heard that we were the only undefeated players after 3 rounds, they said "it figures." Or something to that effect.
I'd love to say that there were dozens of people watching this epic, tense match of Summoner Wars, and that thousands of dollars and ego were on the line.
But it was just a friendly game of "Orcs come in and pillage everything while Bob watches." He had the bye.
My dice were really hot this round, as I was hitting with Shamans probably more often than not, and I got both Reinforcements relatively early (but spread out enough so that I could use both). I got a really good push going with Smashers and the starting units, and maybe another Shaman, so good that I avoided summoning Ragnor or Blagog for a turn because I had plenty of solid attacks to make.
Colby sent in Archangel at Grognack, to try to relieve the pressure. On my turn, he only had 1 magic left, so I froze Sera and Archie... right after I summoned BOTH Blagog and Ragnor for exactly the 11 that was in my pile.
I surrounded his walls, beat up Archie, and just made the game difficult. Eventually got Krung out after the others, but lost some Champions in the process. I think a Shaman got the killing blow. I didn't summon a single Thwarter this game.
GAME 5 (SUMMONER WARS)
v. southwest ninja (Tundra Orcs - Standard deck)
It was determined that the last round would be Summoner Wars, and of the 3-1's, Terry was the only one to have played me in Heroscape and not Summoner Wars. So he had to play me again.
This was actually a pretty interesting game for me. I've played the game probably around 300 times now, but mirrors almost never come into play. This was probably my first or second game ever running TO v. TO.
In general, Shamans and Thwarters are better than usual, and Smashers are worse. In most match-ups, Smashers are incredible, but the likes of Grognack and Blagog can kill them in one shot, and Shamans do it easily in two.
I mostly played pretty defensively, waiting for him to push in and retaliate with Grognack and my own champions. I did get a Thwarter and Blagog up early near his Summoner, but Blagog whiffed big time again, getting maybe 1 or 2 damage in before falling. The thwarter that came along helped a bit though, hurting Grogs even more.
It felt like I had the advantage for much of the game, but then he unexpectedly ignored my Krung and Ragnor in the center of his side of the field, and just made a beeline for my 2x Frozen Grognack in my back row. I only had 2 or 3 magic at the time.
He even sealed his retreat with a smasher.
I started removing the freezes, and attacked his smasher with my thwarter and Ragnor... and got a Fury to finish off his smasher, getting just enough magic in time to be able to ward off an attack from his Grognack with my own. Had I not done that, Ragnor and Krung would have probably had to kill a nearby Ice Wall, giving him one more turn to attack my Grognack who only had taken 1 damage at the time. I probably still would have won, but the final summoner life total would have been closer.